Columbus Mabika and Anesu Tonde
The Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) yesterday held a funeral parade at Manyame Air Base in honour of the late liberation war hero, Wing Commander Stephen Sengwe, whose Chimurenga name was Tsungai Amigo.
Wing Commander Sengwe passed on at Citimed Hospital in Chitungwiza on Saturday after a short illness.
He was 59.
Wing Commander Sengwe was later buried at Glen Forest Memorial Park in Harare.
He was born in 1961 in Chikomba District, Mashonaland East, and attended Matsveru Primary School.
He then went to Makumbe High School in Buhera in 1976.
His zeal to end colonialism saw him joining the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla), the military wing of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), in October 1977.
The same year, Wing Commander Sengwe received his basic military training at Takawira Base in Chimoio, Mozambique, before moving to Pungwe after the Chimoio attack.
He later operated in Manica Province and stayed at Marenje Base in Tete at the ZANU Education and Culture Department.
After Independence, Wing Commander Sengwe stayed at Foxtrot Dzepasi Assembly Point and Tongogara Camp.
He was attested into the AFZ in 1981 as an aircraftman and rose through the ranks to become a Wing Commander, a rank he held at the time of his death.
During his career in the AFZ, he did all the courses commensurate to his rank.
In a speech read on his behalf by AFZ director-general Supporting Services Air Commodore Simbarashe Muringa, AFZ Commander Air Marshal Elson Moyo said it was shocking and disheartening to learn of the death of a dedicated and loyal senior officer.
He said his demise had left a void difficult to fill.
“On behalf of the general officers, senior officers, officers, men and women of the AFZ in particular and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in general and on my own behalf, I would like to pay my deep condolences to the bereaved family and relatives of the late Wing Commander Sengwe,” said Air Marshal Moyo.
“His untimely death is very saddening and painful not only to you, but to all peace-loving Zimbabweans. He fought a good fight, finished the race and he kept the faith.”
Air Marshal Moyo said Wing Commander Sengwe was awarded the Liberation, Independence, Ten Years’ Service, Mozambique Campaign, DRC Campaign and Officer of the Order of Merit awards for his long and illustrious service.
In a graveside speech read on his behalf at Glen Forest Memorial Park, Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Senator Oliver Chidawu hailed Wing Commander Sengwe’s commitment to national development.
“We are baffled as to the reasons why such a principled, hard-working, loyal and experienced senior officer, who was committed to the success of this great nation in terms of development could be taken away from our midst when his services were still critically required by the nation,” said Sen Chidawu.
Wing Commander Sengwe is survived by his wife Phillipa Sengwe and four children — Farai, Tafadzwa, Linea and Tendai.